The Odisha Assembly on Wednesday was adjourned twice- first till 11.30 am and then till 4 pm after the Speaker rejected the demands made by BJP and Congress legislators to bring adjournment motion to discuss the ‘mining scam’ and other issues facing the State.
As soon as day’s business started at 10.30 am, members of both Congress and BJP created pandemonium over the alleged mining scam in the State and demanded Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro to bring an adjournment motion notice by suspending Question Hour to discuss the issue. Unable to transact business, the Speaker adjourned the House till 11.30 am.
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Again when the House was about to reassemble at 11.30am, MLAs from both the Opposition parties gheraoed Patro in his chamber. This forced the Deputy Speaker, Rajanikant Singh, to adjourn the House for the second time till 4 pm.
“The Odisha Government is so much neck-deep in mining scam that it is scared to even discuss the issue. We tried to discuss the mining irregularities in the State during the last Assembly session but the government ignored it. This time too, we tried to bring adjournment motion under Rule 58 of the Assembly and suspend Question Hour to discuss the matter. However, the Speaker rejected the proposal,” alleged Congress MLA from Bolangir, Santosh Singh Saluja.
“The State government had awarded mining lease to those who had offered high premiums. The owners had offered 96 percent to 156 percent more premiums for the different mining leases,” added Saluja.
“The Odisha government has a nexus with mines owners and is equally involved in the scam. Therefore, when we tried to rake up the issue during Question Hour, the Speaker completely adjourned the House. We (BJP & Congress MLAs) have gheraoed the Speaker in his chamber and until he agrees to move adjournment motion to discuss the issue, we will not release him,” threatened BJP's Chief Whip, Mohan Charan Majhi.
On the other hand, BJD MLA Pratap Keshari Deb criticised the Opposition parties and said, “BJD condemns the move by the members of Opposition parties. This is called shifting of goal post in politics. When a playing team sees that its tactics are not yielding any fruitful result, they immediately change their strategy by shifting their goal post. The Oppositions parties are attempting to do the same,” he added.
On the gherao attempt by the opposition BJP and Congress, Patro said, “Speaker doesn’t represent the govt. S/he is the presiding officer. BJP, Congress and ruling-BJD members had a discussion with me and I had cited the reason for non-acceptance of adjournment motion. I had also told them that they could raise this issue during Zero Hour,” added Patro.
Meanwhile, lambasting Deb over his remarks on ‘changing goalpost’, Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra said, “There were discussions on Mundali barrage, irrigation, paddy procurement and other issues related to farmers and farming in the last two days of the House proceedings. Who is actually changing the goal post? Those who are giving such types of remarks are not eligible to be in the ruling party and it could be that they are trying a change in the Opposition parties. That is why they are giving confusing statements.”